IT Project Proposal Essentials For Your Next Board Meeting
There are IT project proposal essentials that you need if you want to be successful and get your IT budget approved. The best proposals have a detailed layout that answers all questions and pain points the board might have, in a language that they understand.
The main reason why IT project proposals, in general, fail is a lack of understanding on both sides. There is often a wide gap in communication between the board members and the IT team.
We can be led astray by assuming that the people we are presenting our proposal to share the same agenda, values, and needs, and this can’t be further away from the truth.
Your board members are not part of your IT team, and they will not have knowledge of the latest risks, threats, and developments. This is something that you have to lay out in your project proposal.
Here are the IT project proposal essentials that you should include:
Give them the most basic information at a quick glance. This should include the project name, purpose, and the key points you want to get across. People have a tendency to skim read and the summary is the first place they’ll look. Keep it brief, but give them the best bits.
Organisational Fit And Compliance
Make sure to explain how your solution fits in with the organisation’s strategy and long-term goals, and list all compliance requirements it should adhere to. Of course, you also want to provide proof that it is compliant with business and industry standards.
Then discuss the goals of your IT project, and define your objectives clearly. What do you expect from the project, what kind of outcome? What deliverables can they expect? Who will be the beneficiaries? Don’t just stick to the IT department, talk about it as an organisational whole. What are you trying to achieve for the business, and how does this tie in with their own business goals?
Costs & Benefits
Without tangible benefits, your proposal won’t be approved. You need to quantify the risks and the solutions of what you’re proposing and not only the benefits but what would happen if they don’t go for your approval. Present industry statistics here; for example:
How much business has improved for others who implemented the solution?
What kind of value does your proposal provide?
How does it affect current operations? Will the company be able to increase revenue? Does your solution provide cost savings?
What is the cost of missing out?
Remember that it’s likely that your resources are limited, so you will have to present a very solid case on why money should be spent on your IT solutions over other parts of the business. Any numerical data you mention here should be easy to understand. List your proposed budget, cost of implementation, and any ongoing costs. If your solution requires addition IT staff, know how to justify the costs that come with it.
Key Tip: Being transparent builds a good relationship with the board. They don’t like to approve projects to find out they actually cost a lot more in reality! Get really specific and detailed with costs, making sure they are accurate!
One of the key IT proposal essentials that managers tend to forget is discussing the business impact during implementation. Is there going to be any downtime during implementation? For example:
- If you’re implementing new IT security solutions, will you have to install some new software on each workstation?
- Is there going to be any type of setup involved once install is finished? How long will it take?
- Will the business have to be offline at any point and therefore unable to take payments?
- Are you planning to work on a weekend to avoid disruption but this has increased costs?
Never, ever sugar coat your proposal! If there are risks with your proposed solution, make sure you identify them, list them, and detail how to manage and mitigate them. It’s not a bad idea to have a documented escalation path in case something goes wrong, as well as solutions like project monitoring and progress reporting to keep track of the project implementation.
Things rarely go smoothly so this covers all bases, just in case, and shows the board you’re looking at the project as a whole, rather than isolating into your department.
Present the time table for the project, including start and end dates, project phases, and milestones to reach. Never list ideal circumstances. Give your project ample time for each phase, because things never work out ideally, no matter how well you prepare everything.
Finally, provide evidence that your solution is the best course of action. Give a good overview of the current system (or lack of) and explain why you should move away from it. Include some alternative solutions too, and explain why they are not such a good fit. Some board members might ask why change anything in the first place, so make sure you explain why doing nothing is a bad course of action (for example, competitors are never idle, IT systems continually evolve, etc.).
Meetings can be boring and graphs, charts, and diagrams can provide an excellent break and showcase what you want to get across instantly! Check out Boardish to see how it quantifies all of the data you need for your proposal, as well as sharing some interesting visuals you can use in your IT project proposal.
Just remember, before you start drafting your IT project proposal, always double check that you have all the IT project proposal essentials written down and then you’ll be ready for anything.